7 Common Holiday Crimes
Stay Safe Over the Holidays
While there’s never a good time to be the victim of crime, falling prey to a criminal during the holiday season can be particularly traumatic. The chances of being targeted at this time of year, however, is, unfortunately, a very real possibility as the period between Thanksgiving and New Year sees the number of reported crimes dramatically spike.
A mixture of increased stress, financial desperation, and an opportunity is thought to be largely behind this trend but all is not lost. Knowledge is power and to help reduce your chances of suffering an ill event, here are 7 of the most common ways in which people become affected by crime during the festive season:
As one of the oldest and simplest crimes, theft is a statutory offense which can happen at any given time or place. Stealing in all of its forms can be a huge problem for people under normal circumstances but the holiday season provides many more opportunities for criminals to exploit.
Crowded areas make it easier for acts such as pick-pocketing, theft of services, and shoplifting both in terms of criminals choosing their targets and hiding amongst the crowds. Home burglary and Larceny are also both heightened during this time, with more new expensive objects being stored on site.
As such, extra caution should be taken to secure your valuables. Taking preventative steps such as keeping your belongings hidden from sight in a car and being more cautious with your belongings can remove temptation from opportunists.
An increase in technology allows us to conduct more of our personal business transactions online and theft has also developed to incorporate this. Credit and debit card fraud along with identity theft were both prevalent before technology provided greater access to our finances, although this new platform has quickly become the preferred way for many criminals to operate.
Simple precautions and safe practices such as not using public networks for accessing personal information, strong passwords, using trusted security software and closely monitoring your monthly statements should always be used.
Furthermore, most criminals gain access to personal details through social engineering such as phishing scams or deploying malware. By responding to any emails with diligence and never sharing any passwords or confidential information, you can take a huge step protecting yourself from this new type of crime.
Rape and Sexual Assault
The amount of sexually-related assaults is, unfortunately, another area which sees a seasonal rise. With more people going out to celebrate, more people are left vulnerable to attack by the impaired judgment caused by consuming large amounts of alcohol.
While alcohol isn’t the only cause for people to be targeted, it can lead to being caught in more dangerous situations. The practice of spiking drinks with psychoactive substances such as GHB (gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid) is also believed to be more widespread at this time of year.
Drug-facilitated sexual assault may not be a widespread problem but being in constant contact with friends and not taking rides from unlicensed taxis are two simple ways to improve your personal safety.
Suffering abuse at the hands of a partner or family member is probably the most claustrophobic and difficult types of crime to deal with. The holidays themselves are meant to be a time to relax and celebrate but the days leading up to the event can be fraught with stress, financial worries, and anxiety in making the necessary preparations.
Coupled with the fact that families spend more time in each other’s company, this can give rise to more incidents of domestic violence. For anyone who finds themselves in an abusive relationship, tough decisions lie ahead. Seek help by contacting the police during these difficult times.
Reports suggest that one out of every four women experience violence from an intimate partner at some stage during their life. When this happens at Christmas, the added stress of maintaining a traditional setting can cause people to suffer fear in silence.
Driving Under the Influence
The holiday season means celebrations and for many people, this includes the consumption of alcohol at some stage in proceedings. The majority of drunk drivers are people who either think that they haven’t consumed enough to put them over the legal limit or people who are still under the influence from the previous night’s excesses.
Although the number of cases of drink driving has fallen in recent years, the holidays still see a surge in the number of offenders. Alcohol and drug use has been clearly proven to impair judgment, therefore, there’s absolutely no debate as to whether you should drive after a drink.
Not only can the consequences of choosing to drive under the influence greatly affect your own life, innocent pedestrians can suffer horrifically. Whichever way you view it, driving under the influence isn’t worth taking that particular risk.
With the holiday’s being a time of increased commercial sales, instances of fraud also become more frequent. Not only are individuals targeted financially through the use of stolen information as mentioned above, there are many scams present which are aimed to dupe rather as opposed to stealing.
One of the most popular Christmas crimes in this category is in the selling of counterfeit goods. While many counterfeiters can be easy to identify, others have a more professional appearance and can seem legitimate at first.
Scams involving work for people in need of extra income, fake charities asking for donations, and crooked competitions are all problems easily encountered. The golden rule to follow is, if it looks to good to be true, treat it with extreme caution.
Crimes of Passion
Although many people often overlook them as a serious crime, acts such as adultery are a breach of common law. The seriousness of adultery does vary slightly from State to State across America, however, the consequences can be far greater than just a criminal punishment.
With alcohol flowing and the nation united by a joyous mood, the office party is not the only place where people are tempted to cheat on their partner. Christmas and the New Year can also be a time when people reflect on their lives, leading to some once again chasing after an ex-partner. If this becomes persistent, it can quickly escalate to harassment or stalking.
It’s worth remembering that although the holiday season is indeed a time to let your hair down and relax at the end of another year, respecting those around you and keeping a reasonable level of awareness regarding your situation should never be totally negated.
Happy Holidays From the Cain and Herren Team!
The Holidays are meant to be enjoyed with family and friends. Stay safe and take extra precautions during this time. Remember to not drink and drive, always arrange a safe ride home. If you are a victim of crime over the season, seek help immediately and try to stay positive.
If you are facing criminal prosecution, you could be dealing with serious life consequences. When such a problem arises, finding an experienced criminal law attorney can make a considerable difference in your favor. Contact the Attorneys at Cain and Herren if you need assistance in any way over the Holidays.